Stick Vacuums vs. Upright Vacuums

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How do you choose the type of vacuum to use for your home? Is a stick vacuum superior to an upright vacuum? What about their similarities and differences? Indeed, buying a vacuum cleaner is a long term investment decision. Hence, you need to pick the right vacuum the first time. If you are unsure about whether to get a stick vacuum or an upright vacuum, then this quick guide is for you. For, we’ll demystify the two and give you a clear picture of what to expect from them. Then, you can proceed and make an informed buying decision. Let’s get to it!

The Background

Upright vacuum cleaners are what come to mind when thinking about home vacuuming. For this bulky cleaning equipment is what our parents and grandparents would use. Its robust construction made it stand the test of time. Now, with advanced technology, we see an increase in suction power and capabilities. It is no wonder that these age-old models are still attractive to date. They are famous for their durable and reliable traits.

In contrast, the coming of stick vacuums provides a lightweight option to the upright vacuums. They use the latest technologies to make you vacuum with ease. Further, they are noise-free and keep the appliance’s suction power optimal. Hence, these units promise convenience in home cleaning. 

The Differences

Suction Power and Cost Effectiveness

An upright vacuum’s build optimizes its suction power. Hence, these appliances retail at a much lower price than other models in their category. Yet, they last for a long time. In turn, upright vacuums are an excellent choice for any homeowner on a strict home budget.

In contrast, you’ll pay twice or thrice for a stick vacuum with the same suction power as an upright vacuum. For, these units retail plus other features to make them a full package. So, if you want quality and do not mind the hefty price tag, you should opt for the stick vacuums instead.


Upright vacuums are no longer the one-trick ponies we knew. Now, you can use the same unit to clean most areas of your home. For example, with the Lift-Away function, you can now detach the canister from the rest of the vacuum. This way, you’ll turn the appliance into a portable one. In turn, you’ll clean the ceiling, under your furniture, corners, and stairs, in one go. Indeed, the traditional upright vacuums are no longer the bulky equipment we knew.

Other versatile features accessories that come with your modern upright vacuum. First, upholstery tools clean chairs, mattresses, and other furniture covered in fabric. Second, crevice tools target the tighter spots around the house. That is the area under your other appliances, edges, and vents. Third, dusting brushes help to pick up dirt and dust without scratching the dirty areas. This function means, you can now vacuum your delicate surfaces with ease.

Stick vacuums retail in a smaller, lightweight design that is easy to move around. Hence, they are your go-to vacuums for spot cleaning. Also, they are great with seniors who get hand fatigue when using the upright vacuums.

Like upright vacuums, stick vacuums have versatile traits. Hence, they can adapt to diverse cleaning situations. For example, they retail either as corded or cordless vacuums. The two varieties give you a choice between using batteries or a live power supply.

The cordless stick vacuums are quite agile. They reach other areas where the corded ones find it impossible to access. And when cleaning high traffic areas where it is not practical to plug to a power supply, these models are your best pick. Finally, cordless vacuums are a safer option. For, they pause no hazard of tripping. And, the appliance can run unattended without the risk of an electrical accident.


We have upright vacuums that are still effective now, 15-20 years since they came to existence. For, these vacuums use a sturdy functional design that comprises of impact-resistant parts. An upright vacuum is easy to assemble and disassemble. And, cleaning, maintaining, and storing them is quite straightforward.

Stick vacuums come in aesthetic designs. For, they have their dust containers within the stick. Again, they are a quiet option ideal for cleaning areas with customers around. There are no loud vibrations that are typical of upright vacuums. Hence, no interference with your customer’s experience.

Next, these vacuums include a height-adjustable bar to reach the hidden or high areas. The height change makes it easy to carry the appliance up or down the stairs. Even so, they can be below your furniture and vacuum in those curved surfaces. Due to their compact nature, stick vacuums are ideal for small apartments. They fit a small storage space. Still, their performance is at 50% of what the upright vacuums can achieve. Plus, stick vacuums struggle with heavy vacuuming around the house.

Effective on Allergens

Do you have pets around your home? Then, an upright vacuum is your best pick. It has superior capabilities to capture, withhold, and get rid of most allergens. More so, they guard against the allergens re-entering the air as you empty the canister.

 In contrast, some stick vacuums use the HEPA(High-Efficiency Particulate Air) filtration system. It removes the tiniest particles on surfaces. Then, the filters hold on to the dust particles. So, they prevent them from recirculating back into the air. The stick vacuums are effective on dander, pet hair, and other allergens. They are your best pick if you have young ones who are prone to respiratory problems.        

The Verdict

Upright vacuums are a powerful option that will be worth your investment. But, if you are looking for a compact option, go for a stick vacuum. It is suitable for seniors, small apartments, or areas that are noise-sensitive. Both appliances use a sturdy structure that leaves your home clean and free of allergens. Still, the upright vacuums outperform the stick vacuums in many aspects. They are cheaper, longer-lasting, and better at dealing with allergens. But you should be ready to make the tradeoff between weight and functionality.

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